BEIJING (AP) – China denied NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s claim that it demanded the firing of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey over a tweet that supported anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
“The Chinese government never posed this requirement,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
During an appearance in New York on Thursday, Silver said the NBA was “being asked to fire (Morey) by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business.”
“We said, ‘There’s no chance that’s happening,’” Silver said. “There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV did not air the two NBA preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets last week. Tencent, which has a $1.5 billion deal to stream NBA games in China over the next five years, has also stopped showing Rockets games but has not totally dropped all NBA content.
The league and LeBron James, one of its biggest stars, have been heavily criticized by some U.S. lawmakers for the perception that they caved to the Chinese regime. Morey has not been rebuked publicly by the league, and Silver has said that the league will support his freedom of expression.
NEW YORK (AP) – A group of fans held signs, wore shirts and chanted support for Hong Kong and Tibet in the Brooklyn Nets’ first game since returning from China.
The fans sat behind the backboard near the Nets’ bench at Barclays Center in their 123-107 loss to Toronto on Friday night.
The Nets returned this week after playing exhibition games against the Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai and Shenzhen. The games were not televised in China after relations between the NBA and Chinese officials became strained following Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
One sign was aimed at LeBron James and Nets owner Joe Tsai, the co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, who were critical of Morey’s tweet. Tsai wrote a Facebook post explaining why the since-deleted tweet was upsetting to the Chinese.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes escaped significant ligament damage when he dislocated his right kneecap, and there is optimism the reigning NFL MVP could be back on the field in about a month.
Mahomes had an MRI exam that showed the ligaments were intact, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team was still sorting through the results and putting together a timetable for his return.
The Chiefs play Green Bay a week from Sunday, then face the Vikings and Titans before a Monday night matchup against Tennessee on Nov. 18. The Chiefs (5-2) have their bye the following week, so it is possible they hold Mahomes out until Dec. 1 against Oakland.
Mahomes was hurt in a 30-6 victory in Denver on Thursday night while sneaking for first down on fourth-and-short deep in Broncos territory.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) – New York Jets guard Kelechi Osemele says he needs season-ending shoulder surgery and is waiting for the team to authorize the procedure, but the team wants him on the field.
Osemele said the team doctor and an outside doctor have both recommended the surgery. But a person with direct knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press both doctors determined it is actually a pre-existing injury and cleared Osemele to play through it.
Osemele is expected to practice Saturday or face a fine and/or suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly commented on the situation.
The Jets acquired Osemele from Oakland in March. He says he was initially hurt in August and re-injured his shoulder at New England on Sept. 22.
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea (AP) – Top-ranked Brooks Koepka withdrew from the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup before the third round after aggravating a left knee injury a day earlier when he slipped on wet concrete.
Playing his second event since stem cell treatment on the knee Aug. 25, Koepka shot a 3-over 75 on Friday at Nine Bridges after opening with a 69. The defending champion was 13 strokes behind leader Justin Thomas in the limited-field event with no cut.
Koepka returned to Florida to meet with his doctors, leaving his status for the HSBC Champions in two weeks in China uncertain. He missed the cut two weeks ago in his season debut at Las Vegas.
The American won three PGA Tour titles last season. He has four major titles, also winning the PGA in 2018 and the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018.
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is banned from entering horses in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where he was barred earlier this year.
Fred Hertrich, chairman of the Breeders’ Cup board, said it would honor Santa Anita’s house rule and not allow Hollendorfer to enter horses in the event Nov. 1-2.
The Stronach Group, whose track ownership includes Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area, ordered Hollendorfer off the grounds after six horses – four at Santa Anita and two at Golden Gate – died under his care earlier this year. Santa Anita had 30 horses die during its winter-spring meet.
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